PAIRINGs:Implied Shinn x Luna, Shinn x Stellar, Athrun x Cagalli, Kira x Lacus, Dearka x Miriallia, Yzak x Shiho
SUMMARY: When he was given a chance to inflict suffering upon his enemies, Shinn took it without hesitation. As the world turns upside down, he soon discovers the consequences of his actions. In order to return everything to 'normal', he must enlist the help of a bitter Princess, an emotionless Captain and a reluctant songstress's spirit.
DISCLAIMER: This is a story based on characters and situations from Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed and Seed Destiny.
WARNING: Text and all related materials are rated PG13/T There are/might be some grammatical errors and typos, spelling mistakes, even after rereading it many times.
NOTE: This story starts near the end of Battle of Messiah. After that, the story goes AU, and everything up to 'Operation Angel Down' is true. This fic is in Shinn's POV, remember.
Chapter 5 The Only Hope
"Alright you scum, here's what we'll do with you," Dearka said cheerfully, slamming his hands down on what was presumably a metal chair.
The leaders of the Resistence had been murmuring amongst themselves as soon as Shinn was brought inside their base. He didn't have to hear them to know what they were discussing - his fate.
He had absolutely no idea where he was, and the only thing that kept him from falling unconscious was the constant pain. Every now and then some of the members would come up to him and kick him hard and spit on him, even.
Through their dark curses, he knew that he had either killed their families or betrayed their trust. But one thing he heard made his will to fight back dim out.
The Resistence from Gulnahan. The very group that ZAFT, that Shinn himself had freed from the Earth Alliance. Remnants of this group had joined this united Resistence Dearka now led, as the rest of the members were enslaved under the Destiny Plan.
Shinn vaguely thought of Conille, the little girl who had laughed and smiled at him gratefully after ZAFT's successful mission. She had trusted ZAFT to bring them freedom, but he had let them down. How was she doing under the restrictions of Destiny Plan? How desperately she had pleaded ZAFT for their help then. The very mission was also when Athrun was-
A dull pang smarted in his heart, hurting more than the bruises and his shattered pride. If only he can end it all, just let them take his life-
But it was the coward's way out. He had a job. A job to set things right.
"Is it really necessary, Dearka?"
"Don't argue with me on this one Shiho. The counsel has decided," Dearka snapped impatiently, but immediately his voice softened guiltily, "Sorry, Shiho, but you know I'm right. We must make him suffer for what he has done."
"Then what? The ZAFT ship is near, and if he doesn't return soon, we'll be the first ones to be suspected!"
"Oh he'll return alright... just not yet," Dearka chuckled insidiously, "We can't let him go back and have him bring back his little troops now can we? We don't want to make Luna's job more difficult."
Silence. Shinn shifted restlessly in the cold chair he was bounded to, still blindfolded and with metal cuffs clasped around his wrists.
"It's agreed then. Representative Asuka, we're offering you a little bargain here," Shinn felt the older man's hand gripping his shoulder savagely, "We will not kill you, and in return, you will tell us everything you know. Standard trade, isn't it? But first thing first, of course."
Shinn heard many people leaving the room and a sense of foreboding washed over him.
"You're not staying Luna?" Dearka sounded surprised.
A pair of shoesteps stopped abruptly. After a painfully long pause, the sound of the steps resumed and grew more distant.
"I don't want to watch. Or hear anything," came her oddly-sounding voice, "I despise threats no matter what the circumstances are."
"But, I thought you, of all the people, would want to-"
"Get back at him? Inflict the pain he had done onto me? No, I'd rather not become like him," she hissed disdainfully, and the door slammed shut.
Dearka didn't answer. He too moved towards the door and called back loudly, "If I remember correctly, Respresentative, your fondest method of interrogating was electrocution isn't it? Not strong enough to kill, but certainly enough for the victim to want to die instead. Well, have fun."
Before he could even comprehend Dearka's speech, a searing sting overwhelmed his senses and he felt his nerves would simply burst from the shock and agony.
All he could hear was his own screams reverating in the empty room. It wasn't like a visible wound, that one would just bleed and the pain would lessen in time; it wasn't like a broken bone, that one would pass out eventually and be spared of the pain.
But this...the sheer magnitude of the pain was so raw that he didn't even have the chance to faint.
It was an endless cycle of torment. A purgatory.
He felt his lips curve up into a gentle smile. "Hey, Stellar. Am I... finally free?"
She shook her head sadly, "No, not yet. You haven't undone your mistakes yet."
"Mistakes huh. To... return? To return to my real world, if I fix everything?" Shinn struggled to understand, trying to remember what she had told him before.
Stellar flinched as if in pain. "I don't have much time, Shinn... I don't know if I can speak to you again. Please remember, you must obtain three things in order to return to the exact place where you came from: a physical material of utmost value from an enemy... a mental bridge of understanding with restless peace...an emotional gift from an irreplaceable friend..."
"The bridge part... is it Lacus Clyne?"
Nodding lightly, Stellar continued, "Yes, but I can't tell you anything else, as you must discover it yourself... I can only give you one more hint... Lunamaria, she must be on your side... you must win back her trust...she's the only one who can help you now..."
"Luna...?" Shinn whispered the name almost in bewilderment.
"My time is up..." Stellar smiled at him lovingly and her body became more and more translucent-
Shinn was not ready to feel his aching body yet, such earthly sensations that cruelly reminded of the reality and his responsibility. He didn't recall passing out; how did he get the chance to? Did they stop the electricity or something? Why, especially when their grudge was so powerful?
His eyes were still closed, his breathing still even, and he would have fallen back asleep if it weren't for the presence besides him.
Continuing his relaxed stance, Shinn extended his senses, and immediately he realized his blindfold was off. His limbs felt heavy but unbound. Then, there was this soothing caress on his injured cheek. Someone was rubbing it with cotton.
Without opening his eyes, he raised his hand against his muscles' protests, and covered the person's hand with his own.
He slowly opened his eyes and, as he suspected, he found Luna staring at him with with an unreadable expression.
Their eyes met and Shinn felt her relief, which was brusquely replaced by confusion and she pulled her hand away, dropping the reddish cotton. Shinn's hand fell tiredly onto the metal chair with a light thud.
"Why are you doing this, Luna?" He asked softly. Her hand clenched and unclenched, but she remained silent.
Despite everything the other me had done to her, she still cared for me... on some level. I must take this chance. I must win back her trust.
"I'm going to tell you something, Luna, something extraordinary, something so ridiculously outrageous that even I have a hard time believing this. But please listen..."
With her head bent and her hair obscuring her face, he couldn't really tell what she was thinking, but he had faith in her. Just as he had faith in her in the other universe, and perhaps...
No, it was not the time to let other emotions come through and make it even more complicated. He began to tell her everything just as he did to Lacus, but in a different approach, concentrating more on their days in ZAFT (leaving out the parts of his relationship with the other Luna, of course).
Her hand twitched when he mentioned 'the other universe', but she looked up involuntarily when he said that Meyrin and Athrun were still alive, in the other world.
"And in the end, we lost. The Triple Alliance destroyed the Messiah. Yet here I am, on a completely different path, a path I no longer desire. Will you help me..." Shinn paused momentarily, then added, "please?"
It was natural that she appeared dumbfounded. Anyone would, after hearing such a tale. She looked so lost, her eyes no longer veiled but showed all her emotions just as it used to. She took a few steps back slowly, as if his very presence repelled her.
He tried not to let his exasperation show, and his hope was slowly deflating. "I'm telling the truth, Luna-"
"Don't call me that!" She shouted harshly, "Don't-don't try to act all friendly and try to manipulate with the past! What you did was unforgivable, not just to me and the Resistence, but to the whole world. The Destiny Plan has chained us all."
"Then I'll break free," Shinn said firmly, and he meant it too. He no longer wished to be bounded by his terrible past. Luna was taken aback by his answer, unable to relate the man before her to the demonic Shinn she knew.
"How do I know it's not another trick? How do I know you're not lying, Shinn? You're a good actor, I know that. You've lied so many times before, and I was such a gullible fool to fall for your lies again and again." Her voice was trembling, half pleading and half spiteful.
Shinn winced at her distrust. Lacus can feel his thoughts and therefore knew he wasn't lying. How can he prove this to Luna?
"I know where Athha is. And only Rey and I can see her. If you'll let me, we'll both go back and free her."
Luna was visibly shocked by this revelation. Shinn continued, "I've also spoken to Lacus and again, it sounds crazy, but it's true, I can prove it to you. I need your help to return to the other world and if it's not possible, I want to change this world for the better, at least."
"Remember the day I visited you and talked about Meyrin? I didn't know about her because as far as I know, she was still alive. Luna, am I really that similar to the Shinn who made you suffer?" He bit his lips hard, as he was actually afraid of her answer. Have I always been such a monster? Was the other Luna simply too lenient of my behavior?
"You... you do seem like a different person Shinn. It was as if you were the one I was friends with long ago," she commented hesitantly, "I really don't know what to do about...about this. I guess I-"
Shinn held his breath, praying and hoping. She sighed heavily.
"I'll try to persuade Dearka and the rest. I'm willing to take this gamble, if everything you said is true but," her eyes narrowed in warning, "I'll be watching you. If you do anything suspiscious, I will kill you, agreed?"
Shinn gulped at her unwavering glare, but his confidence was restored at her voluntary bet.
"Where are you taking me?"
"I want to confirm something. You shouldn't talk until we arrive, Shinn. There are many guards with their guns pointed at you," Luna stated evenly.
Dearka, after Shiho and Luna's incessant persuasion, had relented and stopped Shinn's interrogation. Shiho and Dearka trusted Luna completely, and Shinn was allowed certain freedom, as long as he was constantly guarded and blindfolded.
It was still difficult to ignore the rebel's hatred, though. The only thing that kept him going was the flicker of hope that he might return to the rightful place.
"We're here. You may leave." Shinn sighed in relief at the distinctive sound of boots walking away. Really, he was tired of having to rely on his hearing for his very survival. He cringed inwardly at the thought, reminded of the woman named Shiho. I'm fortunate, I can still use my legs and I'm not permanently blind.
He was somewhat surprised to feel the handcuffs taken off him and the blindfold. He rubbed his wrists half-heartedly, glancing at Luna, who merely nodded and pointed ahead.
Shinn turned around and a strange lump was caught in his throat. They were in a mass graveyard, and he was directly in front of a particular grave.
( C.E. 55 - C.E. 74)
Caring, truthful and admirable
Fought and died for his beliefs
Hero of the Jachin Due
"Meyrin was buried in PLANTs, but they weren't going to give Athrun the same privilege," Luna whispered sadly, "Yzak-san managed to recover his body and buried him here, and vowed to return him to his homeland, with his mother and their comrades. But, Yzak-san perished in the war as well, and Dearka became the only surviving member of the former 'Creuset Team'. 'I always thought I would be the first one to die yet, I'm the only one left', he said. He swear that he will continue to guard this grave until he can fulfill Yzak-san's promise."
Shinn felt his strength gave out beneath him and he kneeled in front of the grave, staring at his former mentor's name blankly.
"You probably thought 'if only I had power back then, I'd be able to protect them'. But once you obtain power, you will be the one to make others cry. Remember that, Shinn."
"So I did, Athrun. I made countless others cry because I can't control the power," Shinn murmured, gazing at the grave as if he could actually see the blunette, his serious green eyes chastisizing him.
He remembered being so angry at the older man, angry at his supposed betrayal. Shinn was merely a soldier, he was just following an order, but had he really wanted to kill Meyrin and Athrun?
Had he really wanted to murder the man who was like a brother to him?
Shinn looked over his shoulder at hearing Luna's gasp. She was staring at him with surprise.
"You... you're crying..."
"I am?" Shinn chuckled inwardly. Funny how much he'd been crying these days without even noticing it. It was instinctive, to mourn and to regret. It seemed that no matter in what universe, he always ended up crying uncontrollably about something
"Very well then, Shinn. So far, you have never shed tears to deceive me, because you simply couldn't. So... I'll trust you, for now."
"Thank you, Luna," he wiped his cheeks hastily, suddenly embarrassed at exposing too much of his emotions. She tensed voluntarily, but then she smiled lightly at his action.
The two paid their respect to the fallen soldiers, and Shinn slowly got up, making yet another promise.
I won't disappoint you this time, Athrun. I will not destroy the future anymore. So watch over us, and give us the strength we need.
"Luna, there's something I want to know about. The Resistence has the element of surprise and, even without Athha, you can still fight back, but why-"
"Destiny and Legend," Luna's eyes darkened considerably, "There are no known mobile suits that can even touch those two legendaries. It truly is suicide to just go up against them. Dearka is a great pilot, but his Blaze Zaku Phantom is no match for Destiny, and my Impulse is confisticated. Which is exactly why we need Cagalli. She alone knows the whereabouts of Lacus-sama's last gifts. We don't know what they were, but we know this: they are our only hope."
Everything clicked in Shinn's mind. The reason Shinn continued to interrogate Athha. The reason for the Resistence's lack of action. Lacus had also mentioned something about certain shipments dropped to Earth by the Eternal before it was destroyed.
Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice.
"Let's go back, Luna. And set everything right."
It was brief, but Shinn saw it and he grinned.
Luna's eyes sparkled, just as her counterpart always did.
"Interesting, everything seems to be the same," Shinn scratched his head and looked about him with boredom. Same old Orb. Nothing exciting. Extremely tedious little island it was.
Nevertheless, it was his island.
It took him quite awhile to come back, as he lacked identification or any sort of weaponry. But he still had the one thing he was best at - intimidation. With his sadistic nature and arrogant attitude, he made it back with ease, Destiny Plan or not. Although that made him ponder about the Plan's enforcement.
"I'll have talk to Rey about it. People's gettin' too slack. But I need to see her first," at that, Shinn's lips curved into a vicious smirk. how he had always hated her cheerful personality. It was nauseating, and breaking her mind and heart had certainly been fun, again and again.
"Hey you, what do you think you're doing?" A soldier actually had the audacity to snap at him. Well well, he'll have to 'set him right'.
"Who the fuck do you think you are, you little squeak?" His red eyes blazed angrily, and the soldier whimpered in shock.
"A-Asuka-sama!" The soldier's face was completely pale. Shinn threw back his head and laughed. Ah yes, fear, how he enjoyed it. Power is indeed a useful thing eh, Athrun Zala? You can't use it well, that's why you died by my hands, you and that Freedom. He sneered gleefully in his mind.
"W-what are you doing here? I thought you went to Scandinavia with Captain Hawke."
Shinn's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. He towered above the soldier menacingly and snarled commandingly in his face. "Tell me everything."
As he listened to the recent events, Shinn's smirk grew wider and wider. How amusing. An imposter then. Ha! What the hell was Rey doing, to be fooled by the imposter? There was only one way to get to the bottom of everything.
"You, do not inform anyone of my return, you hear me?"
"Y-yes, s-sir," the soldier hurriedly added and saluted promptly.
Shinn stared into the sky and chuckled darkly, "We'll soon see who you truly are, and what your purpose is. You, take me to Destiny, now."
End of Chapter 5
A/N: Sigh, stress keeps this fic going, doesn't it, while other fics stay un-updated...
So, the story has reached a crucial point. Lacus is on Shinn's side, and Lunamaria too, as she is slowly warming up towards our protagonist (as he's supposed to be in the actual anime...). Dearka and the rest are still dubious, and Cagalli still loathed Shinn. Ah yes indeed, Shinn is back at Orb. Dearka and Shiho know nothing about what Shinn told Luna, though (meaning Dearka still wants to rip either Shinn into pieces). Stay tuned for more!
Gundam 00 has officially caught my interest, but of course, I'll still look forward to the Gundam Seed Movie, which we know nothing about...
Thank you all for the encouragements! They really keep me going!